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Informative and moving Hotel Tiberias is a journey of many layers and resonances, as the author follows the tumultuous story of his family and the family’s hotel (the building of it was financed by the Thomas Cook) in the town of Tiberias on the edge of the Sea of Galilee during the first half of the 20th century. The hotel’s beginnings at the time of the Ottoman Empire are intertwined with that of the author’s family, through the first world war and the creation of the territory of Palestine; its prosperity under British rule until after the second world war when the hotel was confiscated by the state of Israel is gripping stuff and thoroughly absorbing.
In 1900,Thomas Cook, who had been running tours of the Holy Land since the 1890s, financed the building of a hotel in Tiberias, the largest town on the Sea of Galilee, which had long been a stopover point for Christian pilgrims. The hotel, built, run and eventually owned by Richard Grossmann, was situated in the Sanjak of Acre, part of the Ottoman Empire, and after the First World War found itself in the British mandated territory of Palestine, prospering under British rule until the Second World War, after which the hotel was eventually confiscated by the fledgling state of Israel in 1948.
With the hotel as the pivotal point in the story, Sebastian Hope researches the story of his grandmother, Margaret Frena and her two husbands, Fritz Grossman (Richard Grossman's son), who shot himself dead in 1938, the year Nazi Germany annexed the Sudetenland, and John Winthrop Hackett (General Sir John Hackett) who served with the TransJordan Frontier Force.
Journeying through Rhineland Germany, Turkey and the Middle East, his research takes him to some strange places as he weaves a wonderful, strong family story into a rich, sweeping backdrop of both time and place. Just as he unravels the tumultuous history of the area, Hope digs deep into the history and layers of his own family, and discovers how family histories have an archaeology too.
Moving, intelligent, highly readable and occasionally extremely funny, this is a fine book indeed.’ Geographical Magazine
Publication date: 07/11/2005
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
|Publication date:||7th November 2005|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, Travel,|
Born in 1964, Sebastian Hope learned to travel at an early age, living in five different places by the age of seven. He caught his first fish, a trout, in Canada before his third birthday. After reading English Literature at Bristol University, Hope set off on a journey around the world that was to last almost two years, working at the Sydney Morning Herald along the way. It was at the end of this trip, on an island off the coast of the Yucatan, that he decided, on the toss of a coin, to pursue a career in travel writing and ...More About Sebastian Hope